Saturday, May 31, 2014

Breeding and the Triple Crown!

There has been talk about changing the schedule for the Triple Crown races so that horses today can handle it. But honestly, I think that's cheating. A lot of TC contenders have some sort of lameness issue or unsoundness and that leads to them not cutting it.We used to breed quality horses. Horses that were strong, sturdy AND fast. Now we just want a fast horse, never mind if it can stay sound. Never before have we bred more crap to crap than we do today. Just because a horse has won the Derby, or several Graded Stakes races doesn't mean that you should breed it. Take Big Brown for example. Terrible feet. So yea, let's just keep breeding his terrible feet back into the breed. Or Unbridled Song. He's produces hella fast babies. But they are almost always some form of un-sound. Need I remind you of Eight Belles? I have a baby who's grand sire is Unbridled Song and he's already had an issue or two and he's barely trained. But we continue to breed into those weak blood lines. And I realize that everyone wants to make money. Breed to fast horses, get fast babies. But at the rate that that form of breeding is producing weaker horses and weakening the breed.... well it just shouldn't happen. I could go on and on about how we breed crap to crap. We breed bleeders to bleeders. And horses that have broke bones or injured ligaments and tendons to other horses that have unsoundness issues or have broke down. It doesn't make sense!

Plan to claim a couple of mares in the next few years to use as broodmares. I'll be looking for mares that are healthy and sound, even if they may not be the fastest or have won the most money. The sire I pick must also have retired sound. I have standards. I won't breed anything to anything solely because they are fast or won stakes or made a boat load of money. Racing a horse that has constant issues isn't right. Everyone does it, but that doesn't make it right.

So, no, I don't think that the schedule of the Triple Crown should be changed. I think that we should just breed smarter.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

So So Worth It!

Our horse ran on Memorial Day. It was a 5F Maiden Special on the turf. He broke great and started making his move early. He was flying! Churchill removed the replay or I'd share the link. He came down the stretch, gaining with every stride and lost the win by 1/2 length and was in a photo for 2nd and got 3rd place by literally a hair. He wasn't even tired and the jockey couldn't pull him up coming back. We were so proud of our big horse! He went off at 83-1! The longest shot on the board! Next time out, he won't be the longest shot. I'm thinking more like favorite or second favorite!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Thoroughbreds Are Not "Bad"!!!!!

I am a member of many OTTB groups on Facebook and some of the things I see posted there just make me so cranky. Like how people show pictures of their OTTB racing and a picture of them jumping or doing dressage or giving rides to kids and say "oh look how far he's come." Thoroughbreds are great horses. They are quick learners and do exactly what they're trained to do. I have 3 Throroughbreds, 2 on track in race training and 1 who will be at the track this fall, and any of them RIGHT NOW could pretty much give pony rides. I have one that is racing tomorrow afternoon and I could take him off the track right now and win ribbons in Training or First Level dressage the next day. The 2 and 3 year olds pretty much ground tie. None of them ever buck or bite to be mean (baby racehorses bite but it's a playful thing) and half the time I don't even use a lead rope with them let alone a chain shank. My favorite thing is when people say that OTTBs are spooky and unpredictable and they don't know a lot. Well let me tell you something, TBs see more in their short time at the track than most horses see their whole lives. And when you get a FIT horse off the track and you let them sit in a field or in a stall and they have all that pent up energy then yea, they're going to get a little nuts. It's no different than having a human child with too much energy. And yes, now an than you get a TB that's just plain stupid or hyper or ill-behaved. Sometimes it's because it's just how the horse was handled and trained early in life, or how they were treated on the track (most racehorses get treated like kings, even if they aren't Derby winners and are claimers) or maybe that's just how they are. But I've also seen "sane" breed horses that are nuts, bucking, hyper, ill-behaved.

But people that are ignorant about how TBs are handled and trained and always jump to the conclusions that they are roughed up and handled badly and that they are all damaged goods because of that. I've worked at the track since I was 19, that's 6 years. I have seen more beautifully-mannered TBs both on and off the track than not. Okay, yea. We've gotten a couple in to break that were demons dressed as racehorses, but we've gotten even more that were basically ponies (and by ponies I mean the horses that take the TBs to the gate before a race. Ponies are usually extremely sane and calm and, might I add, bombproof). When someone that doesn't know a lot about the breed or their common daily routine, well, it's a recipe for disaster. How hard is it to go to the track and ask around about the daily routine of a racehorse, how their broke, what common handling practices are and WHY. Assumption will get you hurt when dealing with ANY breed.

So now you know I'm a huge Thoroughbred advocate. Mostly I just want to protect them from ignorance. If you want to adopt or buy and OTTB, do the research. Be open-minded. Go visit the track. Walk horses for a couple of days to get a feel for the breed. They're good horses. Amazing horses. Versatile, SMART, gentle and athletic.

Oh, and another thing. Race horses DO learn all gates. Don't get on your OTTB and go "oooh I have to teach him there are gates between walk and gallop". That's so stupid. If you've ever watched horses train, they learn ALL gates. They learn breaks. They jog some days, lope others and gallop on others. I promise you your OTTB knows how to WTC. Just try relaxing, sitting back and asking correctly. Also, racehorses are pretty much exclusively ridden in simple snaffles, which is more than I can say for most jumpers or barrel horses, etc (my QH can't even jump in a snaffle! He'd run off with me! But I bet I could bring my racehorses off the track and jump him tomorrow in a snaffle and he'd be totally mellow).

And racehorses, for the most part, DO want to race. They are adrenaline junkies. They're like Ricky Bobby, they wanna go fast! The whips the jockeys carry are poppers, making more noise than anything else and they can and will be fined or suspended for excessive whipping. So you can just jump off that bandwagon.

What else? I could go on and on about the ignorant, annoying things I see on Facebook and other online sources about OTTBs/Racehorses. I'm sure I'll have to edit this at some point and add more. I'd just post this on my Facebook or on one of those Facebook groups but then I'll get people that have never stepped foot on the backside or have never raised a TB from a baby to racing telling ME that I'm wrong. I have a DEGREE in this, in Thoroughbred Management. I own/train/race/retrain my own TBs. So I live it and breathe it. I'm not saying there aren't bad horses and there aren't scumbags trainers on the track. But not as many as you want to believe.

And I'm sure you pretty much thing I'm an arrogant woman now, but I just had to get this all out of my system. I love TBs. I have my whole life and now they are pretty much my whole life. I could post 1000 pictures in this blog post to prove every single point I've made here but it would take soooo long and take up soooo much room. :P but if you need proof, just ask me for it! :P

And wish us luck. 9th race at Churchill tomorrow, 10 horse. I'm hoping the big horse can break his maiden this time!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I just wanted to write a quick post about how it is 13 days until the Belmont Stakes and I am already jumping out of my skin with excitement that I can barely contain. I have seen many horses win the first two races of the Triple Crown only to be ousted in the Belmont, and I really truly and honestly think this is my chance to see a Triple Crown winner during my life time. 36 years is too long to go without one! I have been following racing my whole life. I was the only one in my family that kept up with it all. I have watched every single Triple Crown race since BEFORE I was born. Like all of us in Buffalo say about the Sabres: "Win one before I die!". I'd like to see a Triple Crown winner! I have been routing for him for weeks now, even before the Derby. I told everyone he'd win easy, and he did. Same in the Preakness. They haven't even pushed this horse yet. And I am bouncing around too excited to sit still waiting for Saturday June 7th for him to prove it to the world!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Twister...Jumping and Being Injured and OMG Did you see the Preakness?!

So about a week ago, maybe a little more than a week ago, because all it's done here is rain lately... I jumped Twister. My bestie came over to be my trainer and take pics. Let me tell you right now he was absolutely awesome! He jumps anything you point him at. Never knocks a pole down.... unless I get super unbalanced and start popping him in the mouth. Which is why I mostly jump in a hackamore. That and he doesn't usually drag me to the jumps in the hackamore which he almost always does in a bit. And for the record, this is a horse that used to always be ridden in this evil looking bit and that always always had shoes on. Now I can ride him bitless and he's been barefoot for 6 months and jumping over 2feet and is sound. I'm thrilled!!!

Then Saturday Twister got himself pinned between the panel in the eurosizer and the wall of it. I freaked. I thought he was going to break his him. Luckily I have amazing neighbors whom I called to come help me. Though just as they pulled in the driveway, Twister decided he was in too much pain, had had enough and made a break for it, ripping the panel off the swingy thing and busting boards, freeing himself. While he is sore and swollen and probably had some bruised bone, he is okay. He is getting some time off until the swelling goes down before I do any riding again which mean he may or may not be my ride for the Memorial Day ride (which we are only going on if Fatass isn't racing that day....).

 I really thought it was going to be worse than it actually is. And this morning he and Curtis trotted up to me to get their grain. He's a little hitchy but doing well. This has been a summer of setbacks and it's only May! Between being broke and now Twister needing time off for the hip it might be a while before I get back into some serious jumping again and might be a while before I event again, if at all this summer...... I'm a bit bummed, but it is what it is. I'm just so so so so happy that my boy is going to be okay.

Gotta love that face!

And Saturday after the Twister drama was the Preakness. What an awesome race! I have been betting on California Chrome all along. Ever since that amazing win in the Santa Anita. He could do it ya know....go all the way. I am hoping against hope. And that little horse, Ride On Curlin, we know his connection and my boyfriend used to gallop him as a 2 year old. I have proof because I know no one will believe me! I was so excited to see the big race he ran!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rolex/Derby Week

This past 10 days or so have been crazy! Last Saturday our big horse, So So Worth It, raced in his second race, a maiden special weight at Churchill. It was opening night and he ran on the grass. Didn't finish well but raced well and we decided he'll be able to handle the special weight and we won't have to drop him to a maiden claimer. He came home afterwards and has be very happily turned out on green grass with his 2 year old buddy, Curtis.

Curtis.... boy does that kid have an attitude! He's going to be a runner, I bet you any money! We were watching race replays of his sire, Noonmark, races and that horse was a runner. If my kids inherited any of his potential I've got runners!

Last Sunday my besties and I went to Rolex. It was my first time at Rolex, though not my first time at the Horse Park. I was awesome. I accomplished my goal of saddle shopping....well....window shopping. I don't have money to buy a saddle at them moment but I needed to sit in as many as possible to find one that fit me and that will fit Twister, who is a bit of a hard fit. I think I found a few that will be great. The Devoucoux is obviously the most drool-worthy saddle I have ever sat my keister in. But I'll have to win the lottery before I can ever afford THAT saddle.

Saturday was Derby. I love Derby. I've loved Derby since I was old enough to know what it was. It was my second time at a backside party. I had my new awesome camera and got tons of shots. I have several of California Chrome going in and out of the test barn. And WHY when I tell people that he was going to win the Derby easily they kept asking "what about this horse or that horse"?? This horse has a real shot of winning the Triple Crown. And I know I'm not the only one to have thought it. He's not a very big horse. But he's gutsy and fast and is almost always hand-ridden to a finish. For anyone not knowing what that means.... it means they didn't show him the whip. He did it all on his own.

And I love listening to people at the track talk about horses like they actually know a thing or two. Sometimes I can't help but stick my nose in and let them know how stupid they are. Or get this.... one lady overheard me telling our friend that "my 3 year old is fat" and thought I was being a terrible parent talking about my child..... oh jeeze..... *rolling eyes* Or hearing a lady, well-meaning I'm sure, tell her person that the pony leading the Derby horses out to the track was a mare. HAHAHA! For those of you that know a thing or two about horses, you know that a mare pony would have all hell break loose.

All week has been riding and training the babies and getting Fatass (the big horse) back into work. I've been riding the 3 year old a bit. But yesterday was the first day it was dry enough to ride outside and I wussed out. I hate that I do that but I am not a gutsy rider. There was my friend's mare there and his brother who he thinks is his lover friend.... and he started pulling and became hard to steer and I wussed out. I've never been a really gutsy rider. But lately I'm just a chicken-shit.....

Yesterday I also rode Twister good and hard for the first time in a while. We also jumped. He was awesome. Picked up his leads and jumped nice and relaxed. We haven't jumped in over a month and he was great. Actually I think that's where I'm headed now... out to ride, hoping maybe it's cooled off a little. The thing about summer is you have to choose your riding time: early in the morning or early in the evening.